Jul 27, 2015

Scallop Salad with Simple Shiso Dressing

This simple salad recipe uses sushi grade scallops and no searing required, which means less oily prep work in the kitchen. As a result, this can be a quick and easy starter for fancy steak dinner. One other option is to serve the scallop salad with toasted bread and butter on the side, making it a complete light meal.

Scallop salad with simple shiso dressing -

Ingredients (for two small portions)?

  • 6 sushi grade scallops
  • 1 small/medium box of mixed salad greens
  • 2 tablespoons of dried cranberries

Shiso dressing:

  • 4 shiso leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of tsuyu (flavored Japanese soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon of grape seed oil
  • 1/2 lemon 


Finely chop the shiso leaves. 

Stack the leaves then roll them up like a tube. Slice the leaves to get thin strands then start chopping from the other direction. Mix finely chopped shiso leaves together with juice of half lemon, 1 tablespoon of grape seed oil, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of tsuyu. Tsuyu can be substitute with light or white soy sauce.

Toss the salad greens with salad dressing. Transfer seasoned greens to two serving plates then add the dried cranberries.

The sushi grade scallops can be served raw or torched slightly before serving. Place the scallops on top of the salad greens.

The leftover shiso leaves can be used in dishes such as pork rolls and cabbage rolls. You can also make more shiso infused dressing and store in the fridge up to one week. The shiso dressing works well as a flavor boost when drizzle on top of grilled white meat.

Other salad recipes:

Jul 20, 2015

Summer Recipe - Grilled Shrimp and Steak Tacos

This is a quick and easy recipe for a weekend brunch, especially when having an outdoor barbecue gathering. The salsa and tortillas can be prepared ahead of time. You can use store bought salsa to save even more works. Just slap the steak and shrimp on the grill, also heat up the tortilla on the side. Serve with additional chips and salsa, and most importantly, icy cold beer. 

Grilled shrimp and steak tacos (for 2 to 3 portions) -



  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped onion
  • 2/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 skinny cucumber
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika

Spicy tomatillo sauce:

  • 1 green tomato
  • 1/4 cup jalapeno 
  • Some salt

  • 5 large shrimp
  • 1 lb steak
  • Some salt
  • Some freshly ground black pepper
  • Some tortillas
  • Some chips
  • Some extra lime wedges (optional)
  • Some Tabasco sauce (optional)


This recipe yields three different salsas that are slightly different in taste. Store-bought salsa also works, but why not brings it up a notch by using homemade version especially when the salsa can be prepared ahead of time. 

Prepare a big bowl, add in 2 cups of chopped tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups of chopped onion, 2/3 cup of chopped cilantro, 1 zest of lime, 1 juice of lime, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix well and this will be the basic salsa used for chips.

Take 1/3 of the basic salsa and mix will 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika, this will be used for steak tacos.

Take another 1/3 of the basic salsa and mixed with 4 tablespoons of peeled and diced cucumber, this will be used for shrimp tacos. 

For the simple tomatillo sauce, roughly chop the green tomato and add into a food processor. Also add 1/4 cup of jalapenos and a small pinch of salt and blend till smooth. Taste and see if more salt is needed. 

Peel and devein the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Leave the steak in room temperature for about 10 minutes before cooking, also sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Heat up a skillet or a grill then cook both ingredients till desired rareness. Once ready, remove from heat and let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into smaller chunks. 

Just about fully cooked through for my shrimp -

And medium rare for my steak strips -

I couldn't find taco size tortillas so I used a round baking mold to cut the tortillas into smaller portions. Heat up both sides on a skillet or on the grill before serving. Don't leave the tortilla on heated surface for too long otherwise it'll start to crisp up.

Pour some chips on the plate and serve with basic salsa. Remember to use the cucumber salsa for the shrimp tacos and the smoked paprika salsa for the steak tacos. Drizzle some green sauce over the tacos. Put a bottle of Tabasco sauce on the side and maybe add a few lime wedges on the plate. 

It's a good idea to make extra salsa. You can always serve the leftover salsa with grilled fish, pork, or even add into grilled cheese sandwich for future meals.

Other Summer Recipes:

Jul 14, 2015

Made Ahead Dessert Recipe - Creme Brulee 2.0

Looking back some of the old recipes and pictures on this blog definitely give me goose bumps. The writing part hopefully improved a tiny bit, but the old images back in 2007/2008 were just..let me try to use a more polite word, unsatisfactory. Either way, good or bad, all these posts are my babies, I can see traces of memories and improvements all these years, and hopefully many more to come.

The very first creme brulee recipe on Food Makes Me Happy was back in 2007. The basic ingredients remain the same but the proportion varies. Here's the most up to date make-ahead creme brulee recipe 2.0:

Ingredients (for 2, simply double the recipe for 4)?

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (plus 1 more tablespoon for each serving)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 175 degrees Celsius. 

Prepare a double broiler. You can also fill up some water inside a pot and top with a big bowl above, make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Inside the bowl, add in heavy whipping cream, milk, and vanilla extract. Stir and gently warm up the mixture. Do not bring to a boil, just heat up a little then remove from heat.

Prepare another bowl, add in egg yolks and 1/4 cup of granulated sugar.

Beat for about 2 minutes or till the sugar has been fully dissolved and the liquid appears smooth with light yellowish hue. 

Pour half of the creamy mixture to the bowl with egg yolks and sugar. Mix well then pour in the other half, blend well again. Strain using a fine mesh sieve if desired but not necessary.

Put 2 medium size ramekins onto a baking dish. Carefully pour the mixture into the ramekins till about 80% full. Pour hot water to the baking dish till it reaches 1/3 to halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Transfer the baking dish into the oven and bake for 45 minutes. 

Once ready, be extra cautious when carrying the heavy baking dish out from the oven. Take out the ramekins and let them cool for 10 minutes before covering with cling foil. 

Transfer the ramekins into the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving. That's why creme brulee is a great make ahead party dessert because most of the prep work can be done the day before. You can also put on an impressive live brulee show before serving right in front of the guests.

Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar on each serving and torch till caramelized. Wait for about 30 seconds till the sugar forms a crisp top. Just grab a spoon and get ready to dig in this creamy goodness.